As the trio approached camp, Sora could feel something festering within him. It was easy to ignore, for now, but that wouldn’t remain the case forever; he knew he’d have to come to terms with what had happened eventually. He decided he wouldn’t admit defeat, not yet. They had to be close, at least he had that to hold onto.
Billy and Noiz were assisting him on the trek back to camp, and he couldn’t help but groan every so often. Something had sapped his energy during his little struggle, and all he wanted to do was collapse on the ground and sleep. Kura and Apollo were waiting near the fire, talking with one another until Kura spotted the other three foxes approaching. He quickly stood up and rushed to Sora’s aid, carrying him the rest of the way to the fire and setting him on the ground gently. Immediately, Sora fell asleep, one hand moving to grip his side as he dozed off.
Apollo had also gotten up, and was looking at Sora worriedly. “W-what happened?”
Noiz spoke first, looking more worried than Apollo. “Sora tried to hold down his sister… It could’ve gone better.”
“Oh…” His eyes widen, realizing something. “D-did it bite him?”
Noiz simply shrugged. “I don’t know, we didn’t see.”
“Mmm… I… assume the cure didn’t work?”
Billy shook his head with a sigh. “No, it didn’t. I-I think I’m just a little bit off, though. With some more work, maybe I can…” He was lost for words, just like he was for ideas. He hated to admit it, but the fox was running out of possibilities as far as how to cure the infected foxes. He took a deep breath, sighing and sitting on the same log he always sat on. With his head in his hands, he began wracking his mind as to what to do from here.
Kura thought of something: a single idea that had been suggested before, but was always quickly denied. “Hey… maybe… maybe we can try taking a sample from one of the foxes themselves?”
Billy shook his head, giving the exact same response he always gave to the idea. “We all know that’s too dangerous, for us and for the fox we take from. There HAS to be another way…” He immediately went silent again, deep in thought with no interest towards conversation.
Noiz had sat themselves next to Sora, rubbing the fox’s back in an attempt to comfort him as well as to make themselves feel better. The whole group was already anxious about the previous encounter hoping Sora really was as unharmed as he acted.
Sora didn’t have dreams, he had nightmares. Things chasing him, being trapped in boxes, each nightmare being worse than the last. However, his last was far worse than anything else he could ever imagine. Sora found himself in a cage in the same forest he had camped in for a long time now, his perspective being forced to watch a scene at the same spot in which he had tried to hold down Hikari.
The others were there, sitting at the edge of the river with dismay. Something had happened, but he didn’t quite know what until he saw himself approaching from far off, but it wasn’t him at the same time. A grey, colorless version of Sora was walking towards the group through the trees, looking intent on attacking them. Sora, from his cage, cried out to his friends, desperately trying to warn them of the coming danger, but none of them could hear him.
The infected Sora was only a short distance away now, and he lunged at the nearest fox, which was Noiz. Then the true horror began as Sora watched his friends becoming infected, the fox unable to help in any way. Sora curled up in his cage as things faded to black, crying to himself until it all faded away...
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Apollo owned by: VesselofEve on DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/vesselofeve
Kura owned by: Spoopyvlat on DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/spoopyvlat
Noiz, Sora, and Billy owned by: MurderousLover on DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/murderouslover
Scarfoxes are a closed species made by: Kakiwa on DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/kakiwa